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Grassy Lake Wildlife Area


Grassy Lake Wildlife Area is a 695-acre property located in Columbia County. Find it 3 miles southeast of Rio on Highway 16. Take Erdman Road or Fischer Road off of Highway 16. The property consists of approximately 380 acres of wetland, 210 acres of upland and 105 wooded acres.

The property was established as a wildlife area in 1958, with a boundary encompassing the wetland basin known as Grassy Lake. The property was established to provide opportunities for public hunting, particularly waterfowl and an area for wildlife production. Current public use of the property is highest for hunting deer, waterfowl and pheasant. Trapping muskrats and other furbearing animals is significant.

Management Objectives

Historically, the primary management objective for Grassy Lake Wildlife Area was to provide hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. As lands were acquired, marginal farm fields were converted to prairie to compliment the existing native prairie community and provide additional wildlife habitat and hunting opportunity.

Current management objectives focus on protecting the Grassy Lake wetland basin and managing for presettlement vegetation types. This includes maintaining existing prairies and savannas and seeking opportunities to increase these cover types. The property is managed on a landscape scale, creating smooth transitions between cover types.

The property is monitored for invasive species such as black locust and garlic mustard. Prairie and savanna areas are managed and maintained through prescribed burning, mowing and herbicide use to limit brush encroachment and encourage vigorous grasslands. Wetlands are managed through limited disturbance to prevent the spread of reed canary grass. Woodlands are managed in a manner that limits the spread of oak wilt and encourages regeneration of oak and hickory.

For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.


The Grassy Lake Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Canoeing;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking (no designated trail);
  • Hunting (especially noted for deer, waterfowl, pheasants, turkeys [Zone 3], rabbits, furbearers and squirrels;
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.


Find out more about how to adopt this wildlife area.